MUM

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A Mum MUMis a person who brings life into the world

She nurtures it and watches that life grow and blossom.

A wise Mum lets go,

Knowing that to truly love someone you must set them free.

A Mum is someone who is your whole world when you are two or three or four

As you grow older a Mum is someone who guides you through the horrible teenage years.

You may fight with your Mum but you still love her

The bond between mothers and daughters is special.

For some as they mature it becomes a lifelong friendship

For others, who maybe too much alike it becomes a battle ground.

You hate her

But you still love her.

The years pass the divide deepens

Hurts real and imagined take hold

She is still your Mum.

 

Then comes the day when the positions are reversed

You are the parent figure she is the child.

The resentment on both sides bubbles over

She is still your Mum

You still love her.

She pushes you away

She cannot cope with what has happened.

Her world has turned

She tells you to go away and leave her alone

She is your Mum.

 

You cannot walk away

You say it is white she says it is black

Nothing much has changed

Then comes that day

You hold her in your arms and say

I forgive you – you ask

Can you forgive me?

She cannot speak but

Her eyes fill with tears

You tell her you love her  more than life itself

She nods, you know she hears your words

Then she closes her eyes and is no more

Your Mum has gone

 

You have done your best

You have kept your promises

She did not go, alone and in the dark.

There was light and soft music

There was love and warmth.

She has gone on that journey we all will take

She is your Mum

You love her

She is still your Mum.

SAMARA

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The world has never looked like this before. She considered this thought as she stood poised at the edge of the precipice surveying her dominion. Her robes caught by the wind fluttered softly about her. With a whisper, her white feathery wings unfurled as they enveloped her. She resembled a white luminous butterfly.

Samara scanned the multifaceted broken, blue expanse of ovoid space before her. She sought the light, signaling her next appointment. It blinked. She caught the blinking light and in the space of a single breath, she morphed through time and space. She was there.

Mortar shells exploded and crashed around her, the dark sky dark lit up with violent orange flashes.  Her timing was perfect. Samara smiled. The old woman with slow and painful movements heaved her lumpy body out of the bomb crater. The tears from her red-rimmed rheumy eyes scoured dust trails on her cheeks. Her hands weakly fluttered as she sought to cover her exposed, bruised and broken body.  Her eyes were focused on Samara’s face, the woman spoke,

“You have come, at last, I have waited so long. Why did I have to wait?”

“Your time was not right,” Samara replied. “I cannot come before your time.”

“Must I leave like this?” the old woman indicated her state of dishevelment. A mortar shell whizzed past exploding over ahead.  The old woman screamed. She grabbed Samara’s robes, buried her face and sobbed;

“Am I doomed to stay here, like this, forever?”

Samara raised her up. Gently holding the old woman, she untangled her hands from her robes.  Her soft feather wings opened and enfolded them both. The noise ceased, the crying stopped. She lowered her wings, a young woman stood in the place of the old one.  She looked at Samara, this time her bright eyes filled with tears of gratitude. The young one spoke,

“I knew you would come, I knew I would be safe.  I knew I was not afraid of death. I was afraid of pain. I cry for the place of my birth”

She placed her hand in Samara’s outstretched one, together they turned and walked away. Samara replied,

“We will both cry for Aleppo this night, remember this too shall pass.”

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Well behaved women rarely make history

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Well behaved women rarely make history

This bracelet from BE Bangled  is special because it defines the time recently when my husband was ill. A dispute arose about procedures of admission to a private hospital. Both the GP and ambos were adamant we had to go via the public emergency system as it was an emergency scenario.

I remembered reading that there was a capacity to transfer directly to a specific private hospital if certain specifications were met.  My partner’s specialist is linked to the cardio- vascular unit at the private hospital where he had previously been an inpatient. I argued that the delay in going via the public system was detrimental but I was so stressed I could not remember the details.

I was argued down by both the GP and the ambos. I was frightened, stressed and my agitation levels were rising. I knew I was getting to the point where my behaviour would be deemed inappropriate. I acquiesced because I knew if I didn’t I would be requested to leave the clinic.

It turns out I was correct and in this particular circumstances there was an opportunity for direct emergency admission to the private hospital that also has a Cardiac Cath lab.

The five-hour delay in admission via the public hospital system resulted in additional medical issues that should have been avoided.

There is also the issue that I was in no fit state to be driving a vehicle and ambulance chasing from one hospital to another and given the parking situation at and distance travelled to the public hospital. I hate to think what my blood pressure was like as I am hypertensive at the best of times. In fairness, I was asked if I would like to travel in the ambulance. I declined due to dubious public transport availability and  I did not know how long my car could be left at the car park. The distances involved between home – clinic – hospital A – hospital B -clinic – home, involved a round trip of approx 150kms.

When the situation had calmed down and I had time I checked the private hospital’s web-site. The web-site confirmed my information additionally, the information was verified with the hospital.

The Clinic and Ambos were unaware of this emergency admission plan for cardiac patients. I explained my concerns about the lack of knowledge to the Cardiac Care Unit and it was evident their education program had not been as effective as it could have been.

The result being the hospital contacted the clinic and spoke directly to the Nurse Manager and provided full details and have also contacted the ambulance service.  They are now revisiting their educational strategy.

I am eternally grateful to the clinic, doctors, nurses and ambulance officers involved in my partner’s care. They focussed on him, they were compassionate and caring and did their very best to optimise treatment on the day.  They undoubtedly saved my partner’s life.

However, the five-hour delay in admittance to the private hospital was questionable. It would have taken one phone call to confirm the information I was providing.

This delay should not have occurred. It resulted in an unnecessary admittance to an already overstretched public hospital system and the result the unavailability for five hours of an emergency hospital bed and an unnecessary patient transfer.

I do understand public hospitals do a great job and are under the pump financially and working against physically overwhelming odds. This is why we choose to pay private health insurance, something we cannot really afford. But, because of situations such as these, we believe it to be necessary. Specific inaction by medical staff resulted in a situation occurring that should not have occurred and a medical event that should not have happened. A problem overlooked due to lack of resources or experience.  A situation that was detrimental to my partner’s well-being and impacted on recovery times.

I now carry a print-out with me of this information for my own peace of mind. If as result of this experience the next person who meets the criteria is not shunted around the system and is effectively transferred to the appropriate hospital, it was worth not being as well behaved as I should have been and perhaps I will have rewritten history.

HOME

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HOME

Stepping from the jeep my foot touches the dry dusty red earth. I feel a tingle all through my body. I have arrived.

We gather in a loose group, some are in tears, some laugh and chatter, others are in shock just standing looking everywhere, but nowhere.

I want to shout my joy but I can’t, my tongue has been cut out as a warning to others.  Tears track through the furrows of my face and disappear into the parched earth leaving no sign of my pain and joy.

The noise is overpowering, the light is strong and bright, it hurts my eyes. There are colours and shapes all around like the flittering of brightly coloured birds. I am the only silent one. I am the only one alone.

I feel a tug at my elbow and turn. There he stands, a boy child with dusty toes and stained jeans, and a t-shirt proclaiming I love dinosaurs.  His hair is dark and curly, he has sparkling blue eyes, as blue as the irises I grew in my garden. He looks at me, not through me, but at me.  No one has looked at me for a long time.

He holds out his hand. He is the same age my boy would be.

‘My name is James, who are you? Where have you come from?  Why are you crying? You are welcome here. Why do you wear a long dress? It is too hot for that.’

The words roll out in a rush and his face breaks into a cheeky smile.

I take his hand and smile. I indicate I can’t speak. He seems to understand.  He holds tightly to my hand.muslim-girl-public-domain

‘Come and meet my mum.  Mum this is my friend. She can’t speak, but she has a lovely face. Well, what I can see of it.  Do you understand English?’

I nod.

‘Good.  Can you write in English?’

Smiling, I reach into my pocket and take out a pad and pen. I write slowly, my name is Jamila.

He takes the pad from me, jumping up and down with excitement he says,

‘I know what that means, it means beautiful, I learned some Arabic words in school.’

His mother hushes him and hugs me, holding me close. We move apart, separate.

‘I’m Lizzie, and you’ll be staying with us. Welcome to our home. Are you alone?’

I nod and write, where is home?

‘It’s about 300 clicks from here, a bit of a drive. I travelled all day to bring you home.’

I turn to pick up my one bag.  A dark cloud passes over the sun and the scene shifts. I am on the ground. I roll instinctively into a ball, there is a thud as the heavy boot connects with my shoulder.

I have been walking in my sleep and no-one has travelled to bring me home. I remain a prisoner with no name, only a number, behind the wire.

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HOME was my entry for the Gary Crew Award 2016.  The theme was ‘travelling to bring you home”.  Congratulations to Wendy Holman on her winning piece. As the results have been announced I am now able to share this work with you.  All images are public domain.

AUSTRALIA DAY AND ME

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AUSTRALIA DAY AND ME

What does Australia Day mean to me?

I wish to acknowledge the custodians of this land, 
To the Elders past and present. 
I acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution 
they make to the life of this land 

Facts

  • The 26th of January commemorates the landing of Captain Cook on these shores and the commencement of white settlement in this land.
  • This day is known by the First Australians as Invasion Day the beginning of a period of division, deprivation, war, ongoing breaches of human rights, and genocide.

These facts cannot be changed or undone in any way – this is the history of white settlement in Australia.

My Position

  • By accident of birth, I am a white Australian female.
  • Well educated, middle-class background. I am retired, a full-time student, a wife, and a grandmother.
  • I understand I speak from a position of white privilege.
  • I am a 5th generation born in this land

How do we move forward

  • I don’t know –  I acknowledge the facts that this land I call my home was invaded and thousands and thousands were massacred and that prejudice and injustice remain part of the society we live in.
  • I am sorry for all of these actions
  • I do acknowledge the collective responsibility of all citizens and governments for past actions.
  • I acknowledge the actions of the succeeding governments that have not been inclusive of our First Australians and have restricted their place in the democratic processes of government
  • Our First Australians  MUST have the same rights and obligations and be treated as full citizens of this bountiful land.
  • These rights and responsibilities MUST be enshrined in law
  • Prejudice and deprivation MUST be abolished
  • All of us need to work together to move forward – it is impossible to turn back the clock, and we can work for inclusiveness, freedom from discrimination and learn to share this beautiful land together.
  • I was excited to learn that maybe, my great great grandfather, was possibly a Boon Wurrung man and so disappointed to discover he wasn’t.
  • I wonder at the sense of belonging to country that our First Australians feel – I would love to have that deep and abiding understanding connection to this land.
  • I do have a sense of wonder at having had the honour of being born in this great country.
  • I feel like the adopted child –I am fortunate because, my forbearers –  made a conscious decision to make this beautiful place their home.

What I cannot do

  • I can’t change the past
  • I can’t change the colour of my skin
  • I can’t feel your pain because I am not you.

What I can do

  • I can speak up about Aboriginal deaths in custody
  • I can condemn racial profiling
  • I can lobby and speak out
    • against oppression and prejudice
    • for greater improvement in the provision of education
    • for better delivery of heath services
    • for better living standards
  • I can become better informed about how I may help others understand the need for true reconciliation
  • I can denounce racist attitudes
  • I can refuse to laugh at racist jokes
  • I can refuse to discriminate against people because of the colour of their skin
  • I can acknowledge the acts of the past and present and say I am sorry that these have occurred and mean that statement with my whole being
  • I can empathise and support

 

I believe change is possible and that it starts with you and me

Healing in this country requires a lot of love, courage, and honesty and the belief it is possible. Where there is true care, there is very little division.

—Official website of the movie Kanyini

Today I pay homage to one of the greatest Australians I have ever met,  a  proud Yorta Yorta man  Sir Douglas Nicholls.

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He was born in Cumeroogunga, near the Murray River in New South Wales, and was Australia’s first Indigenous state governor.(1906–1988)

 

 

Vegan or not to Vegan and Hospitals

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Vegan or not to Vegan and Hospitals

I thought I would follow up on my post of 24th of November 2016, about changing to a semi-vegetarian diet. Little did I know what obstacles were going to be hurled at me in the next eight weeks.  And I suspect there are more to come.

It has been eight weeks since I have eaten any red meat, pork or processed meats. Free range chicken and fish are still on the menu. I drink a minimum of two litres of water a day and a very occasional glass of wine  (on my birthday and it was yuk…too sweet) and trying to knock sugar out of my diet. I have dropped 3 kgs and kept it off.

There has been no specific exercise regime. I feel better, fitter and my skin is much clearer.

Now truth time. Here is the crunch. I have fallen off my high pedestal a couple of times. Twice I have been to KFC – once was my birthday and do the four party pies I scoffed at a luncheon count?  How do you forget and just put food in your mouth?  Nah, don’t want to even think about Freud and his theories!

Let me rewind the last three days.  I have tried and been doing reasonably well until my husband became ill and was admitted to ICU on Wednesday.  We had planned to have lunch with my cousin at Coolum Surf Club and instead I ended up following an ambulance all over the Coast as we went from doctors surgery to Nambour Hospital to Buderim Private Hospital.

My husband will go to any lengths to avoid going north of Maroochydore for a family gathering but this is ridiculous.

However, I veer away from my engaging story.  My man remains in ICU  and yesterday the stress got to me.  Are you a comfort eater?  I know I am.

Of course, a stay in hospital involves new PJ’s etc. and now with the attempt to normalise the process, when a person is ambulatory, they are required to don day wear. Now as my man’s shorts and shirts are all a bit worn, this necessitated a trip to the Lowes Menswear at the Plaza to buy some shorts and button through shirts.  Thank you to the lovely sales person who helped me out.  He is covered in wires and hooked up to a slew of monitors at present so button through shirts is a necessity. I also had to provide his medications.  This also precipitated some retail therapy for me.  The result, three pairs of lightweight shorts, two shirts and a new pair of PJ’s, boxes of medication, and two skirts and two t-shirts later from “Les Target.”  In my defense, they did have a spot sale and I landed a whopping discount, and although my wallet is now nearly $300.00 lighter, I did save  $110.00  with discounts.

I felt very self-righteous I marched past the food court and McDonalds and Grilled twice  as I entered and exited the Plaza.  Apart from the chocolate brownie and salad sandwich earlier in the day I had stayed on track.

Then, disaster struck.  I was driving along Aerodrome Road when the McDonalds jumped out and dragged the car into the parking bays. I was on auto pilot.   What could I do I was trapped.  I gave in with a vengeance.

The menu is too confusing in there these days. I went for what I knew. A double quarter pounder with cheese upsized meal. I ate the burger, and funnily enough, it didn’t taste the way I thought it would. It tasted like chemicals and the bun was bleh like light weight cardboard. I am not a fan of bread at the best of times.  I had three chips and drank all the Coke.  Things do go better with Coke especially when they are greasy. The grease cutting properties work like a dream. The large chips remained mostly uneaten and went in the bin.  Add $12.00 odd to my expenditure.

By the time I arrived home 45 minutes later, I had a pain under my ribs and felt like nothing I want to describe here. I unpacked and washed and dried the clothes and easy job in plus 30-degree heat and packed a bag to take to the hospital in the morning.  I felt like a train wreck.  I had a raging headache and just wanted to sleep, probably stress but I know what I had eaten added to my discomfort.

I went to visit my Mum who is in care and I completed all the normal jobs watering the veggies, feeding the dogs and catching up with well-wishers texts and messages.  Eventually, I gave in and took some Gaviscon for indigestion. and headed for bed.

I had a shocking night, fought with the sheet, the bed, the pillows, fan on, fan off and my indigestion. When I slept I had horrible, vivid dreams.  Outcomes no more Macca’s five minutes of enjoyment is not worth hours of yuk!  I woke this morning and my mouth feels like the bottom of a chook shed. You could say I learned my lesson.

At least I now know the effect of eating Maccas and won’t be doing that again in a hurry.  I have felt much better and certainly can notice the effects of a healthier diet without red meat or processed meats and preservatives.

I will check back in – in another eight weeks to see how things have progressed. I would like to try and decrease the amount of sugar I eat and it is not lollies or chocolates as I do not have a sweet tooth it is added sugar in foods that we do not even notice.

Going back to Uni will be a challenge as fast food is the go there, quick and easy. I  will have to take my meal but that means dragging a lunch bag with you as lockers are in very short demand.  Thought…It would be good if the brasserie had a student fridge and you could put your lunch in there to keep it cold.  They have microwaves on campus for student use so why not a big fridge.. hmmm.

See you all in eight weeks. stay safe and eat well

Folding Mini book

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I am always looking for great ideas to deal with some of the stuff you accumulate capture2

and this idea really sparked my interest.  I have a collection of photographs and around 1000 postcards.  I may indulge.

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Thank you to  Flow magazine for the link    http://www.flowmagazine.com/stuff-we-like-to-make/folding-mini-book.html

anastasia

An Incredible Movie ~ A FRAGILE STORM

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A Fragile Storm

My sincere thanks to all involved with making this movie and to the actors for brilliant and sensitive portrayals of the characters. 

My niece has shared this movie and it is possibly the most disturbing movie I have seen in a long time.  It runs for approx 9 minutes and speaks to the anguish of a relationship interrupted by Dementia. That demon in the cupboard. The elephant in the room.  The movie is confronting and informative. One of the executive producers has Alzheimers. It will upset viewers and others will understand it totally.

I was in tears from the first seconds.

I have put a warning that the movie is controversial and it will question your understanding of dementia based illnesses.

Regular readers of my blog know that my father died two years ago this month as a result of having Lewy Body Dementia and my mother has Dementia Nos associated with COPD and Emphysema and is in a care facility.  My niece is attempting to raise two children as a single mum, and care for her mother now diagnosed with Alzheimers.

What is the one thing our loved ones ask of us in the early stages of these dementia based illnesses?  Almost universally it is –  “Please do not put me in a “home”.  My thoughts on my niece’s comments about making promises and guilt at not being able to keep them.

These are my thoughts drawn from my own experiences as a caregiver on my niece’s comments about making promises and guilt at not being able to keep them.

We all make the promises with the best intent and then when we are unable to keep them due to circumstances outside of our control we do feel guilt. These dementia based diseases are all about guilt.

We are never ready for the changes and often do not see them as they are subtle and can fluctuate from hour to hour day to day. That is one of the things that is emotionally exhausting about dealing with these issues.

We second guess ourselves all the time;

“What could I have done better or differently?

Why did I lose my temper? I should know better? Intellectually I understand but my heart does not. Why? Why has this happened? Why/ how did I not recognise the signs earlier?  Why isn’t there more help/research/understanding/funding? Why does this push the boundaries of my beliefs system? Why am I not more patient? Why are there days when I hate everyone including myself? ”

The best and most important thing for caregivers is to understand they are not responsible for the illness or the situation and to find time out and recharge.

Acceptance of the situation and finding tools and support systems to help is vital. It won’t change the progress of the disease but it may help you cope with those changes more effectively.

Recognise that as time progresses we may have to hand over the care of our loved ones to others. For health, mental and physical, safety and financial reasons. Heather would understand that better than anyone else. This movie shows the extremes and those extremes do happen – not with all but with many cases. These diseases have an impact not only on the person with the disease but their families and support systems and no one understands another’s journey. We may empathise but we do not understand the daily pressures. Build memories while you can, record conversations in writing and on tape or video and make scrapbooks these help as anchors in the darkest hours.

Take it one day at a time and always ensure you find space for yourself and activate your support systems when you need them.

When someone says what can I do to help suggest a couple of meals that can be frozen. Help with household and garden chores and come and visit or phone and talk. Do this because people with all good intent will make offers and then find the situation too confronting.

This is a club no one asked or wanted to become a member of – but here we are. Make beautiful memories and treasure them.

End of Care questionaire

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End of Care questionaire

If you had a condition that you could not recover from, what would be important to you, towards the end of your life?

Foremost to have control over my treatment, control over the manner of my death and to be able to put my affairs in order and say the things that should be said, write the letters that need to be written.

Are there any pets that you would like to see or be with you if this is possible?

Without a doubt, pets are so good for people. They add a sense of normalcy to the situation and provide comfort and unconditional love – they also help with depression and lower blood pressure.

Would you prefer a quiet environment or do you prefer activity and chatter around you?

I do not want to be in a hospital surrounded by medical equipment. I will make sure I have the  opportunity to choose and to have my favourite music and movies playing and friends around

Would you like music to be playing and if so, what style or what music?

My taste in music is very broad Irish folk, Bollywood, classical, opera Gilbert and Sullivan 1940-1980s. Again normalising the situation no sober or soft tones

Is there anyone particular you would like to see or talk to?   

My partner and my children and friends

Is there anything else you can think of that you would like?    

I have already planned my funeral and wake. A private cremation, no mourners then a celebration of my time in this life.  My ashes to be spread at the Sangha in Melbourne in the rose garden.

What is on your bucket list of things you would like to do or achieve before you die?

There are so many things I want to do write the great novel, be published, travel back to Tibet, Malaysia, Nepal, India, Bali, England, Germany. To meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama again, be closer to friends. To know my  kids and my grandkids understand how much I loved them and how I tried to provide a better world for them to live in

How did you feel during the process of completing this form? Was there anything about the process that interested or surprised you?    

Pleased I have done it. I was not surprised but interested to see I used the word normalisation. I don’t fear dying but I do fear the manner of my death.  Western society does not sit easily with discussions on death and dying.  It is part of the circle of life, it is but another great adventure.

We need to talk about death and dying and our wishes. As a provider of support for caregivers with terminally ill  relatives I so often hear the response “Oh we have never talked about it” or “I don’t know what they would want, it isn’t a subject we discussed”  or “We don’t have an Advanced Health Care  directive in place we didn’t want to upset them by talking about these things”  or “It’s morbid I don’t want to think about it” and then there is the classic “I’m too busy to to talk about it”

The above is my response to the questions posed in May 2016 to  Maggie Beer and her response presented by  Palliative Care Australia   http://palliativecare.org.au/palliative-matters/maggie-beer-is-dying-to-talk/#.WGmdRJTfgks.facebook